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French Waterways

2015 Prices From $4,890 for 10 Days - Tauck Cruising

When it comes to France cruises, it’s hard to imagine a more enjoyable one than gliding along the Rhône through the vineyard country from which come some of the world’s most exceptional wines. But first... meet us on the Champs Élysées for a welcome dinner at a Parisian brasserie long known as a celebrity hangout... walk through a city neighborhood called “Le Marais,” where stylish galleries and peaceful squares line twisting streets that have witnessed the marks of history... travel to Lyon, where eating well is a time-honored tradition. Set off on your Rhône River cruise through one of the first wine-producing regions on Earth, stopping to explore villages along its banks; here ancient roots meet contemporary charm. See a 14th-century palace designed for papal splendor... ochre cliffs, Roman ruins, a medieval abbey, a game of pétanque... and a Roman aqueduct’s design that remains a lasting beauty. En route, taste an aged Beaujolais, a Côtes du Rhône direct from the source, world-renowned chocolates, and superb cheeses.

Brochure


  1. Itinerary
  2. Pricing & Availability
  3. Accommodations
  4. Before You Go
  5. Reviews (48)
  6. Deck Plans
  7. Packing Tips

  1. Day 1

    Bonjour, Paris

    Meals

    D

    Your cruise begins 6:00 PM, InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hotel. A transfer is included from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport or the Gare de Lyon, Gare du Nord or Charles de Gaulle station to InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hotel, located in the heart of the city. Join us tonight for a welcome reception and dinner at Fouquet’s, since 1908 a Paris icon; the brasserie has long been known as a favorite of celebrities. After dinner, the pleasures continue with an "Illuminations Tour" of Paris, providing glittery views of the city’s nighttime lights and a beguiling ending to your first day in Paris. 

    Lodging

    InterContinental Paris Le Grand

    Day 2

    A day of pleasures in Paris... a city filled with stories

    Meals

    B

    From the grand boulevards and manicured gardens of the Right Bank to the artsy Left Bank, favorite haunt of writers, dreamers and musicians, Parisian neighborhoods reflect the true essence of the city. Choose between a city orientation tour or a walking tour of Le Marais, with its stately mansions, half-timbered houses, covered passageways, and narrow cobbled streets, including Victor Hugo’s home, the Place des Vosges, Village Saint-Paul and la rue des Roisers, Paris' medieval Jewish quarter. Then, Paris is yours to experience in whatever way pleases you for the rest of the day and evening. Perhaps you’ll visit one of the city’s lesser-known museums… a little jewel of a church tucked away on a quiet side street… or an agreeable sidewalk café for some Parisian-watching.

    Lodging

    InterContinental Paris Le Grand

    Day 3

    Take the fast train to Lyon & embark your riverboat

    Meals

    B, D

    After a morning at leisure in Paris, travel first class to Lyon on the high-speed TGV train. With a 2,000-year-old history, Lyon grew up at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône Rivers; today it is France’s third largest city with a heritage of Roman ruins and Renaissance-era architecture. Known historically for its prominent silk industry, the city’s reputation today is as the gastronomic capital of France, a center of youthful design and futuristic architecture. You’ll board your floating hotel ms Swiss Emerald  in Lyon, then join us for a Captain’s welcome reception and dinner to celebrate the start of your cruise in festive fashion.

    Lodging

    ms Swiss Emerald

    Day 4

    Lyon, old and new... a tasting lunch and a Beaujolais wine tasting

    Meals

    B, L, D

    Lyon is considered the "culinary capital of France" – quite a compliment in a country famed for its cuisine and fine vintages. Today includes a tasting at the Les Halles de Lyon, the celebrated indoor food market that's been a fixture in Lyon since 1850 and offers an unbelievable array of breads, cheeses, fresh fruits and vegetables, sausages, wines, chocolates and more. Everything is fresh and delicious, and it's said that the best chefs in Lyon shop here; you’ll enjoy tastings of various goodies paired with appropriate wines! But Lyon is also a city with a venerable history and considerable charm, as you’ll discover when you visit Vieux Lyon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the first protected historic district in France. Sightseeing also includes the Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-Fourvière, built atop the ruins of an ancient Roman forum. Then it’s off to the celebrated wine-growing region of Beaujolais for a tasting in the countryside before continuing your cruise to Viviers.

    Lodging

    ms Swiss Emerald

    Day 5

    An afternoon in ancient Viviers and an introduction to pétanque

    Meals

    B, L, D

    The riverboat cruises this morning to Viviers, a walled city with origins in the 5th century on the right bank of the Rhône. Navigate its narrow streets on a walking tour with your local guide, viewing the 12th-century Cathedral of Notre Dame de Rhône and the richly detailed façade of the Maison des Chevaliers, home to an upwardly mobile salt merchant in the 1500s. Then learn to play the popular outdoor game of pétanque; akin to playing a game of horseshoes, it's a pastime meant to be shared with friends. Spend the evening cruising as ms Swiss Emerald continues on to Arles in Provence.

    Lodging

    ms Swiss Emerald

    Day 6

    Provençal "impressions" in Arles and on to Avignon

    Meals

    B, L, D

    It may seem that the Romans were everywhere along the Rhône, and Arles is no exception, as is witnessed by the triumphal arch, circus and baths they left behind – and an arena in which gladiators fought and is still a venue for performances and bullfights today – as you explore the city on a sightseeing tour and time on your own. Look beyond the city walls at the incredible quality of the light here that so enraptured Vincent van Gogh – and the landscapes of yellow rocks, red soil and lilac mountains that inspired in the Dutch artist a newfound creativity, and led to one of the most productive periods of his short life. This afternoon, ms Swiss Emerald heads for Avignon; upon arrival this evening, you'll have a chance to take a stroll through this well-preserved medieval city.

    Lodging

    ms Swiss Emerald

    Day 7

    The many charms of Avignon and a visit to Pont du Gard

    Meals

    B, L, D

    Although the fortified city of Avignon was undoubtedly a pleasant place before they arrived, the 13th-century popes, who spent less than a century here when Rome became "tedious" for them, really put it on the map, and cultivated the local wine industry (Châteauneuf-du-Pape). Sightseeing today includes the Palais des Papes, the vast, fortress-like palace that they built for themselves during that time.  After discovering more of Avignon on your own during leisure time this afternoon, visit the Pont du Gard – a famous Roman aqueduct over the River Gardon that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. ms Swiss Emerald is docked in Avignon for the evening.

    Lodging

    ms Swiss Emerald

    Day 8

    Discover the amazing colors of Roussillon plus a wine tasting in Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    Meals

    B, L, D

    This most extraordinary of France cruises takes you into the Luberon region of Provence, welcomed by trees sculpted by the mistral wind, ancient vines, narrow winding roads and tidy stone structures. Here, the village of Roussillon, with its lovely central square, seems to have evaded time itself. Surrounded by richly colored cliffs and quarries blazing against the azure sky, the town sits in the middle of one of the world’s largest deposits of ochre... reflected in the façades of its buildings, their subtle colors offset with brightly painted shutters. Follow a walking path to the old quarry for insights on why the town’s livelihood was once intertwined with this colorful natural pigment. After lunch on board, head to the hillside village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape – once encircled by a wall that included the château built by the popes of Avignon as a summer palace, and home to flourishing vineyards as early as the 13th century – known for growing and producing wine of the same appellation; enjoy a tasting before returning to the riverboat.

    Lodging

    ms Swiss Emerald

    Day 9

    Savory delights in Tournon-sur-Rhône & a cooking presentation in Valence

    Meals

    B, L, D

    Tournon-sur-Rhône is a perfect spot to start the final day of your Rhône cruise with a guided walking tour; wind your way up to high ground and admire the views of lush Côtes du Rhône vineyards and dramatic river vistas of this medieval town. Across the river, visit the home of Valhrona Chocolates (subject to Monday closings), respected for quality around the world. Then journey to Valence – a major hub for fresh Rhône Valley produce and home to some of France's finest culinary artists – for an education in epicurean delights. Attend a presentation and wine and cheese tasting at a cooking school in town associated with an award-winning restaurant; learn how seasonal ingredients, contrasting flavors and time-tested techniques can combine to create mouth-watering local specialties. Celebrate one of Tauck's most remarkable France cruises with the Captain’s farewell reception and dinner aboard ship.

    Lodging

    ms Swiss Emerald

    Day 10

    Our Rhone River cruise comes to a close

    Meals

    B

    Your Rhone River cruise Ends: Lyon. Disembark ms Swiss Emerald in Lyon by 9:00 AM, then fly home anytime. A transfer from the riverboat to Lyon Airport or Perrache or Part Dieu train station is included; please allow 3 hours for flight check-in at the airport. 

  2. Packing Tips


    Bringing the right clothing for your trip is important – we’ve partnered with New Headings who provide an "easy-to-use, one-stop shop" for your Tauck travel needs, specifically selected for this trip. Click here to visit their site.

    Your journey is designed with leisure in mind. Dress for comfort and convenience with a wardrobe that is adaptable and allows for layering. Generally, during the day, casual, comfortable, cotton clothing is recommended. Cool weather at higher elevations or at night will require warmer, layered clothing. For the welcome and farewell receptions, casual resort wear is appropriate; formal wear is never required for dining with your fellow guests at a Tauck-provided dinner. When dining on your own, you may choose to dine at a restaurant that may require men to dress in coat and tie, and women in more elegant eveningwear.

    Valet laundry service is available at the hotel and on the riverboat for a fee. There is no valet dry cleaning available on the riverboat. Ironing facilities are available on the riverboat by request to the front desk. Category 7 cabins feature their own irons and ironing boards.

    We recommend that you pack an adequate supply of your prescription medication in its original container to last through your entire journey, together with a copy of your doctor’s prescription or a letter from your health-care provider on office stationery explaining that the medication has been prescribed for you, a list of the generic names of your medication, your travel documents and a change of clothing in your carry-on bag to avoid any inconvenience in the event that your flight or luggage is delayed. No medications are sold on board the riverboat.

    We suggest that you pack the following items your journey:

    • Casual daytime wear – shorts, slacks, long and short-sleeved shirts
    • An optional jacket and tie for men
    • Casually elegant evening wear for ladies
    • Sunglasses, sunscreen, hat
    • Swimwear for the whirlpools on the riverboat; neither the hotel nor the ms Swiss Emerald
    • as a swimming pool
    • Gym wear
    • A light sweater or jacket for higher elevations or a breezy night
    • Binoculars (7x50 preferably)
    • Insect repellent
    • Camera, lenses, batteries, memory cards and/or plenty of film
    • Lightweight, comfortable, sturdy walking shoes that have already been broken-in
    • Battery-operated travel alarm clock
    • Rain poncho and collapsible umbrella
    • Zipper-lock bags
    • Daypack for camera equipment
    • Sundries and toiletries that may be difficult to find en route
    • Copies of your travel documents to be secured in the safe in your hotel room or cabin
Packing is easier with necessaryGear
Click here to visit necessaryGear.com

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